The 2021 MLB postseason gets started Tuesday night when the New York Yankees (-125) take on the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park with a spot in the American League Divisional Series up for grabs.
Wednesday night it will be St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers (-225) going head-to-head in the National League wild-card game with the winner advancing to play the 107-win San Francisco Giants.
Meanwhile, the six division winners wait in the wings, with divisional round action set to get going on Thursday.
Before the games get started, let’s look at which teams the oddsmakers are telling us have the best chance to win the World Series.
Los Angeles Dodgers +390, Houston Astros +500, Tampa Bay Rays +550, San Francisco Giants +550
Despite still needing to win a wild-card game to make the divisional round, the Los Angeles Dodgers are currently the odds-on favourite the win the World Series.
The Dodgers won 106 games this season and led the MLB with their +269 run differential and 3.01 team ERA.
Houston, after making the playoffs with a 29-31 record last season have reclaimed their spot as one of the top teams in the American League.
The Astros won the AL West by five games and will have home-field advantage in the first round against the Chicago White Sox. They have won at least one round in the playoffs every season since 2017.
Meanwhile, the path to represent the AL in the World Series could go through Tampa Bay this season after the Rays won 100 games to secure home-field advantage in the American League.
Tampa Bay came just two wins away from winning the World Series last season and appear poised once again to make a deep run in the postseason.
Rounding out the list of favourites are the Giants.
San Francisco hadn’t made the playoffs or had a season record of better than .500 since 2017 but exploded this season to win the NL West.
The Giants finished second in the MLB with a team ERA of 3.24 and trailed only the Toronto Blue Jays with their 241 home runs.
Chicago White Sox +700, Milwaukee Brewers +900
The White Sox won 93 games and to clinch their first AL Central title in 13 years.
The White Sox made the playoffs last season for the first time since 2008 but failed to get out of the first round and will look to advance in the playoffs for the first time since winning the World Series in 2005.
Chicago takes on a Houston team in the first round that had their number this season, as Chicago dropped five of their seven meetings.
The White Sox enter the first round as +112 underdogs to advance.
Meanwhile, the Brewers and their +115 run differential won the NL Central by five games.
Milwaukee was dealt a massive blow last week when reliever Devin Williams broke his pitching hand after punching a wall.
The Brewers are back in the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season but are looking to advance past their opening round for just the second time during this run.
They are -142 favourites to advance past the Atlanta Braves in the divisional round.
New York Yankees +1200, Atlanta Braves +1200, Boston Red Sox +1600, St. Louis Cardinals +2000
The Yankees will need to make franchise history if they’re going to win the World Series this season.
The Yankees have won the wild-card game eight times – tied for the most in league history – but have failed to make, let alone win, the World Series in any of those eight years.
Most recently, New York won the 2018 wild-card game before dropping the ALDS in four games to the Red Sox.
In Atlanta, the Braves have dealt with their fair share of injuries to star players this season. The team enters the playoffs without star outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. and pitcher Mike Soroka.
Still, Atlanta managed to win 88 games and claim the NL East title but have a long road ahead of them if they want to win their first World Series since 1995.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox are small +105 underdogs to get to get past the Yankees Tuesday night as they attempt to make a run for the franchise’s tenth World Series title.
Like New York, the Red Sox have won the wild-card game eight times. And unlike the Yankees, Boston made the improbable run from the wild-card game to World Series winners in 2004.
Rounding out the list are the St. Louis Cardinals.
Arguably baseball’s hottest team entering the playoffs, the Cardinals enter their Wednesday night game against the Dodgers as winners of 21 of their past 24 games.
But the Cardinals will have to go through the gauntlet just to make it to the NLCS.
They are +225 underdogs to advance past the Dodgers and will then be big underdogs again in the NLDS against the Giants.
It’s been 10 years since the Cardinals were on top of the baseball world; it would be one heck of a run if they can do it again this season.